The Story

My name's Radu Luchian and I'm a Romanian designer and illustrator based in Munich, Germany. What started off years ago as a branding project quickly became a home brewery in which I experiment with small batches of different beer styles. My beers are all named after songs from bands that have inspired me throughout my life, and even though it might not be a lot it’s still my own tribute to the artists that have given so much through their music.

Brewer

Hopsylvania started off in early January 2016, when I sketched out a very rough draft of what would later become my iconic hops bat logo. Throughout the following year I continued to iterate on that design while also testing the waters of a potential home brewing hobby. I started off with a couple of extract kits but somehow managed to get both of those beers wrong. They were sour, off-flavour and barely drinkable. It almost seemed like I shouldn't even be doing this. But hey, at least I had the branding, right? Fed up with extract kits, I decided to switch to all-grain brewing and take on the challenge of actually producing my own custom beer from start to finish. After many, many hours of online research and DIY hacks I was finally able to brew my first proper beer, the "Dust N' Bones" pale ale. From that point on I gained an entirely new perspective on brewing which would forever change the way I look at beer.

Branding

This project is not just about brewing good beer, it’s also an outlet for me to express my creative tendencies as a designer. I spend endless hours over the drawing desk illustrating each label to match the chosen song name and beer style, each with its own colour theme but all spawned from that very same bit of darkness. This project has enabled me to grow as an illustrator. It tought me disclipline, patience and grit; as I constantly try to come up with more intricate and detailed designs.

Drawing

In terms of brewing equipment, I started off in February 2017 with a DIY mash tun converted from a water cooler, along with an 18l boiling kettle and some plastic buckets for fermenting. These were enough to get me through my first 10 or so batches. As time passed and I became more and more familiar with brewing, I also started noticing the limitations of my setup, which is why after plenty of research I decided to switch to The Grainfather system almost a year later. This now enables me to spend less time worrying things like temperature control, boil additions or step mashing, and instead focus more on perfecting my recipes by understanding the science behind them. My usual process involves crafting the recipe in Beersmith, ordering my ingredients online and then on brew day importing that recipe to The Grainfather while I finish setting up the rest of my kitchen for brewing.

To know more about how I created my brand and what challenges I faced, I recommend reading the case study I published on my personal website. It covers everything from logo design, lettering and first labels right down to packaging, merchandise and even laser engraved coasters.

Read the case study